When he was 15, Deepak Lather shocked the Indian weightlifting fraternity by breaking the national record in the men’s 62 kg category.
Hailing from Shadipur in Haryana, no Indian weightlifter in eight years had been able to lift 125 kg in the snatch category after the International Weightlifting Federation rearranged the categories and the Indian weightlifting body had set that as the mark for a new national record.
(For more updates from day two, read our live blog here.)
Lather lifted that weight at the national championships three months shy of his 16th birthday, making him the first record holder. Born into a farming family, Lather grew up working on his father’s farmlands, building up immense strength in his arms.
Gold quest in Gold Coast
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His father wanted him to be a wrestler but when the youngster got selected for the Army Sports Institute, Lather initially wanted him to be a diver. Converted into a weightlifter, the teenager won the national championships, earning him a spot at the World weightlifting championships.
His performance at the worlds may not have been upto scratch, but Lather was the youngest lifter present at the event. Earlier, at the Commonwealth youth Championships, he broke the Games’ record and won a gold for himself in Samoa.
As in the snatch, Lather’s technique was impeccable as he lifted 132 kg but the clean and jerk has always been his blind spot, due to a lack of power. However, a personal best of 159 kilos meant that Lather had pushed himself to the edge at Gold Coast.
With time, Lather’s strength may increase leading to him posting better marks in the clean and jerk but one point that all including chief coach Vijay Sharma agree on is that the lifting technique is fluid and easy to watch. Lather did make it look easy on Friday, even if he didn’t win gold.